Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do you need to send DWG files?

In a recent Blog Post HERE, we offered tips and methods of sharing DWG files with others: clients, customers, vendors and contractors among others. But is sending a DWG file necessary?  AutoCAD/LT offeres many commands that create other formats from DWG files (see Export Options), and many recipients may prefer these over a DWG file.

The most common file exchange format in the world is PDF: it's universal, everyone has a free reader installed, and it's easy to view and print. If that's all the functionality your recipient needs, it's the perfect format for them. And you can create the PDF file by using the commands PLOT, PUBLISH, EXPORT or EXPORTPDF from inside AutoCAD/LT.
What if your recipient needs to markup your PDF or add comments? Most PCs are not equipped with such apps, and while a few free PDF Tools exist, they are very basic and do not have many features.

Created by Autodesk, another exchange format has existed for a while and gaining in popularity: DWF (and the Vista/Windows7 friendly DWFx). With the free Autodesk Design Review software, your recipient can not only view your files, but they can add comments, measure distances, and draw over your DWF file to communicate their changes. They can send the file back to you, you can the reference the file and the makups in AutoCAD/LT and edit your file accordingly. If they don't need markup, send DWFx files instead and any Windows Vista or Windows 7 user can view your file with no additional software to install.
Not sure what Windows version they have? All the recipient needs is an internet connection and a link to the Autodesk FREEWHEEL website to open, view and print any DWF file you send.
Or you can upgrade, for free, to the newly announced PROJECT QUICKSHARE: it ts the power in your hands to quickly share design files from anywhere at any time for free. Explore DWF files in real-time using a highly interactive online viewer: View 2D and 3D Design Files Online - Navigate multi-sheet documents, examine properties, hide layers, or review Mark-Up.

What if you need to maintain control of the markups and who accesses the files? And a history of the various comments made by others? AutoCADWS, and internet online secure viewing and reviewing from Autodesk is one solution that works. Pick up a free account HERE, start upload your files from inside AutoCAD/LT 2012 (if you are in a lower AutoCAD version you can do the same from any web browser), invite your clients/consultants, collaborate and markup live and together on the file(s), and save them in the DWG files for access back in AutoCAD/LT. The best thing about AutoCADWS is you  and your recipients do not need to be Windows users: any OS with Web Access, even a smart Phone with the free AutoCAD WS app for iPad, iPhone or Droid phone/Tablet. Explore more desktop customizations HERE.

Sharing files is easier than ever: communicate with your recipient and ask what they prefer to receive and accommodate them the best you can with these free tools. ◦